Bedrock of Civilization: The Family Is the First Natural Society from Which All Other Communities and Nations Spring, the Very Cornerstone of Civilization

By Shibler, Ann | The New American, April 14, 2008 | Go to article overview

Bedrock of Civilization: The Family Is the First Natural Society from Which All Other Communities and Nations Spring, the Very Cornerstone of Civilization


Shibler, Ann, The New American


[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.

--William Ross Wallace

William Ross Wallace was a poet, not an historian. Yet what historian would dare dismiss his famous dictum that "the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world"? Don't the youth determine the future? And aren't they deeply and permanently influenced by the hand that rocks the cradle?

Yet the history books say relatively little about the hand that rocks the cradle or about the family, compared to other subjects such as war and politics. There is a reason for this, and it does not have to do with child-rearing or family life being less important than the topics the historians do focus on. "We must remind ourselves again that history as usually written ... is quite different from history as usually lived," historian Will Durant said in his study The Lessons of History. "The historian records the exceptional because it is interesting--because it is exceptional." But the "interesting" and "exceptional" are not necessarily what ultimately determine the kind of world in which we live. Durant continued: "Behind the red facade of war and politics, misfortune and poverty, adultery and divorce, murder and suicide, were millions of orderly homes, devoted marriages, men and women kindly and affectionate, troubled and happy with children."

As Durant suggests in his reference to adultery and divorce, not all homes were (or are) orderly. But there is no doubt that throughout history, the fundamental unit of civilization has been the family. In The Mansions of Philosophy, Durant wrote: "The family has been the ultimate foundation of every civilization known to history. It was the economic and productive unit of society, tilling the land together; it was the political unit of society, with parental authority as the supporting microcosm of the State. It was the cultural unit, transmitting letters and arts, rearing and teaching the young; and it was the moral unit, inculcating through cooperative work and discipline, those social dispositions which are the psychological basis and cement of civilized society."

The family is not just "the supporting microcosm of the State," but is also the precursor to the state, the first natural society from which all others spring. According to the Old Testament, the ancestry of all of us can be traced back to Noah and his family, and before that to Adam and Eve. Their families grew to extended families and eventually to communities and nations encompassing many communities. The purpose of a national government, therefore, is not merely to safeguard the individual citizens comprising the nation, but even more fundamentally than that, to safeguard the family--the vital cell of society, the bedrock of civilization.

Accepted through faith and reason by most, the family is not only the fundamental unit of society, but, through marriage, an institution created and ordained by God. The family is meant to be that fundamental unit--the place where the parents perform the supernatural duty of child-rearing; the place where love and life are born, nurtured, and grow: and the place where values, faith, and traditions are passed on from one generation to the next.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Ultimately, the strength of a civilization is determined by the strength of its families and family values.

Family Matters

The importance of the family as the place where children first receive training in speech, general knowledge, notions of God and religion, respect for the rights of others, and social duties cannot be underestimated. Inside the home, it is the family that fosters and promotes lessons of fraternity, obedience, patience, self-sacrifice, self-control, duty, and responsibility. By suffering and rejoicing together, members learn pity, sympathy, gratitude, and faithfulness. It is in the family that the inalienable value of each human life is discovered and respected. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Bedrock of Civilization: The Family Is the First Natural Society from Which All Other Communities and Nations Spring, the Very Cornerstone of Civilization
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.